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The Roles and Responsibilities of an ESL Teacher

The Roles and Responsibilities of an ESL Teacher | ITTT | TEFL Blog

Teaching is a very crucial ingredient in education for without the term “Teaching” education would likely not have come to limelight. Teaching is, therefore, the act of transferring or imparting knowledge from a teacher to a learner, with carefully planned out modes of instruction to change a certain pattern or routine. Non-native speakers of other countries such as Russia, China, Iraq Etc may find it a little difficult to understand or learn the English language on their own. It is therefore through a TEFL teacher that their desires are fulfilled. In a nutshell, therefore, a teacher can be seen as one who educates or informs another person with the motive of changing something or giving the learner something new and positive.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jennifer E. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Demand in the Education Sector

In the world today there has become a huge rise in the need for TEFL teachers as many other foreign countries have realized that the English language is a global language and is also a very necessary tool for companies who want to be able to trade in the international terrains. These needs gave rise to the emergence of the courses TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language), TESOL (Teaching English as a second language) Etc. There are over 250,000 native English speakers abroad teaching English and due to their shortage in demand, about 80 percent of teachers are non-native speakers. This leaves a wide job market for English teachers of all nativities and tribes. The only thing that will make a teacher stand out among the bunch is by how well he/she can perform the roles or tasks assigned to a teacher. Let us quickly note down the major responsibilities of a good TEFL teacher:

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A good TEFL teacher must possess the skill to be able to teach. In other words, he/she must possess skills that can draw student’s attention for long and equally make them understand what they are being taught. He or she must have a good command of the ESA strategy of teaching and must be knowledgeable and witty. The use of games, active class participation, discussions, role-play and also storytelling will ignite the excitement of students and make each lesson a memorable experience.

A TEFL teacher also has the task of planning, preparing and delivering lessons. He or she is also responsible for preparing teaching materials and aids. In the case where there are no adequate resources provided by his employers, he must find alternatives to work with.


A good TEFL teacher must learn to work with the students he is given and should be responsible for their progress in understanding the English language. This means he has to work out a way to understand each of them for him/her to note their weaknesses, fears or challenges and address those issues as quickly as possible. He/She is therefore expected to possess strong positive qualities such as confidence, firmness, positive attitude, fairness, Etc.A TEFL teacher also mentors other upcoming English teachers who are training to be TEFL teachers just like him/her.

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A coach ensures that his team is outstanding at whatever his group represents. He does this through constant drilling and encouragement of teamwork. Same as this, the TEFL teacher drills his student through repetition of certain words, exercises or activities in order for them to remember words and English phrases etc The teacher encourages teamwork by pairing them in groups, mixing the strong with the weak learners and tries as much as possible sometimes to sit back, observe and make constructive corrections afterward.

The TEFL teacher may also organize special classes for those students who need to catch up on some of the subjects. He or she may also prepare students for external examinations when needed or organize exchange programs, tours, competitions, etc


The key responsibility of any teacher is to be able to manage the classroom. In the case of TEFL, the learners are not even proficient in English Language and may be of different tribes and cultures. A TEFL teacher, therefore, needs the skills to develop and enforce classroom rules, whether among children or adults.

To get successful with classroom management, there must be some qualities that he has to possess such as punctuality, being organized, a good command of English Language, integrity, professionalism, etc.

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Guidance Counselor

A TEFL teacher must possess the quality of empathy and should structure his lessons towards the benefit of the learner. A good TEFL teacher can easily spot the learners who are struggling and help out in many ways. Also, while teaching a particular class the teacher needs to listen carefully to his students as they may end up reliving their experiences in the classroom and this is a good way to get them to gather a good command of the English language pretty fast. In the TEFL class with young learners, the teacher has to be a counselor, pseudo parent and more! But for the older classes, he or she may assist with career choices, professional advice to the employer or colleagues.Other qualities of a good TEFL teacher include patience, open-mindedness, wit, positive reinforcement (praise/constructive correction}


A TEFL teacher is responsible for assessing and evaluating the outcome of the students learning experiences. He uses general assessments, tests or even examinations to check their actual knowledge or understanding of what has been taught. This helps him to understand how well the students got the message and in turn, helps him assess his performance as a teacher so that he can make necessary adjustments where need be. Through evaluation, the company or school get a record of the general performance of the learners. The teacher also supervises the classroom activities, individual performance and so on.A good TEFL teacher should possess qualities like thoroughness, detailing, observation, alertness, zeal, etc

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The bottom line is that the paramount duty of a TEFL teacher is to use the classroom/online platform instructions and presentations to help students whose languages are not English, understand, speak, listen and write better English language. To do this the teacher needs to prepare lessons, manage students properly, encourage students and work closely with both students and employers, to achieve good results and very many referrals.

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